DAILY UPDATES REGARDING THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 

BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES LAW
Read more about the Burns White Banking and Financial Sevices Law Group.

Frequently Asked Questions about the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program

Access the American Bankers Association’s most recently updated FAQ’s regarding the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program. 

While the SBA Guidance continually has shifted in response to feedback from financial institutions and participants, this summary is a very useful tool for the present moment.  

PA CARE Package Announced

On March 30, 2020, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the launch of the PA CARE Package. The program will focus on partnering with banks throughout the Commonwealth and ensure consumers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for economic relief.  Read more 

BANKRUPTCY AND CREDITORS' RIGHTS SERVICES
Read more about the Burns White Bankruptcy and Creditors' Right Services Group.

CARES Act’s Impact on the Bankruptcy Code

By William Buchanan, Esquire

The CARES Act (see my prior posts online at Burns White’s COVID Resource Center), signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020, not only created significant small business loan initiatives, it modified and amended provisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. These CARES Act changes which will immediately impact the bankruptcy landscape for small businesses and individual debtors alike.  Read more

U.S. Treasury Issues Interim Final Rule on Paycheck Protection Program

By William Buchanan, Esquire

The U.S. Treasury has now issued an Interim Final Rule (“IFR”) on the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) created by the CARES Act at section 1102.  The IFR is effective immediately, with comments to be solicited from the public in the near future.  Read more

Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights COVID-19 Update – April 1, 2020

By William Buchanan, Esquire

SUMMARY ON CURRENT FUNDING INITIATIVES FOR BUSINESSES IN THE CARES ACT AND PENNSYLVANIA COVID-19 ECONOMIC RELIEF EFFORTS  Read more

CONSTRUCTION LAW

Access daily COVID-19 updates impacting the construction industry.

 

EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES LIABILITY 

Coronavirus and the Americans with Disabilities Act: How Small and Mid-Size Businesses Can Help Protect Themselves from Litigation

By Mark T. Sottile, Esq.

As the reported coronavirus death and hospitalization rates begin to level in the country’s most hard hit areas, a collective restlessness, surely amplified by welcoming spring weather, has pushed Americans in droves to city parks and still technically shuttered beaches. Even in the most devastated states, like New York and New Jersey, there is an increasingly boisterous call to ease restrictions on certain businesses, whereas Georgia’s reopening has been met with raucous appreciation by some residents eager to end their lockdown.  Read more

Creating a Safe and Healthy Workplace for Employees During and After COVID-19

By Angela A. Cronk, Esquire

Recently, the White House issued a set of federal guidelines for reopening the U.S. economy with a three-phase, state-by-state approach.  As a result, many employers are considering how to prepare their workplace and workforce for a return to work. This article discusses the actions that employers should consider in creating a safe environment for employees to return to work in the office.  Read more

Returning Employees to the Office After COVID-19 Shutdowns

By Angela A. Cronk, Esquire

COVID-19 has shuttered the doors of almost every business office in the Northeast. Employers have furloughed employees and cut salaries to save costs. The non-furloughed employees are working from home.  The state governments have started to issue multi-step plans to return employees to work, but with no exact dates. However, employers who are running non-essential business that have been shuttered should be developing a process of returning employees to their office buildings now.  Read more

COVID-19: What Employers Need to Know and FAQs on Federal Labor and
Employment Laws

By Mary-Jo Rebelo, Esquire

The coronavirus, or COVID-19, has been designated a pandemic. A pandemic is a global epidemic. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) are the definitive sources of information about influenza pandemics. Pandemic planning and responsiveness includes individual employer’s plans about how to manage employees and to continue operations. This bulletin is intended to provide employers with guidance on how to address workplace issues presented by COVID-19.  Read more

ETHICS AND LEGAL MALPRACTICE 

Coronavirus Ethics Tips for Pennsylvania Lawyers

By Scott R. Eberle, Co-Chair of the Ethics and Legal Malpractice Practice Group

The COVID-19 crisis has brought unique challenges to all lawyers, significantly changing the way we practice law. But in the midst of all these changes, lawyers’ ethical duties to their clients remain. What steps should you take to maintain your ethical obligations to your clients during this pandemic? Here are several tips for navigating this uncharted territory. Read more

FAMILY LAW 

Estate Planning During COVID-19: Understanding the Basics

by Aleksandra J. Kocelko, Esquire

The current COVID-19 pandemic has caused an increased interest in estate planning. While it’s always good to have a plan for the future, it seems this pandemic has put a spotlight on the importance of having all of your critical documents in order. To get started, it’s important to understand the purpose of each document, and to be aware of the dangers in leveraging on-line estate planning tools. Here is what you need to know.  Read more

COVID-19 Shutdown: The Challenges and Options for Parties in the Process of Divorce

by Dorothy O’Neil, Esquire

The COVID-19 shutdown has people asking a litany of questions, including what to do with children now that schools are closed, how finances will be impacted, how long the shutdown will last, what physical symptoms suggest COVID-19, etc. Unfortunately, divorcing families face an additional set of uncertainties during this confusing time. Many wonder if their divorce will be on hold until this is over. Some are faced with immediate issues that need to be resolved, but are unsure of their options. So what can separating or divorcing families do to move their divorce cases forward, rather than waiting months until the shutdown is over?  Read more

Courts Are Closed: How to Get Relief From Family Law Matters During Isolation

by Rachael C. Bowe, Esquire

Due to current concerns regarding the COVID-19 virus, the Association of Pennsylvania Courts (“AOPC”) and Governor Wolf implemented procedures to protect the general public, and to address the spread of the virus—including the general closure of all Pennsylvania Courts. This creates uncertainty for those navigating family law matters, but despite the closure, avenues still exist to address divorce, custody, support and Protection from Abuse issues that arise during this difficult time.  Read more

Custody in the Time of COVID-19: 5 Recommendations

by Aleksandra J. Kocelko, Esq.

While the COVID-19 pandemic may have most people telecommuting, purchasing essential items and practicing social distancing, the impact on families navigating custody cases can be far-reaching. Parents may struggle to determine how to adapt to the current situation. While there is never a “one size fits all” approach to custody, here are five recommendations parents can follow during this challenging and unprecedented time.  Read more

HEALTHCARE LAW 

WHITEPAPER:  Analysis of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s Executive Order Extending Immunity to Healthcare Professionals Responding to COVID-19

On May 6, 2020, Governor Wolf issued an Executive Order [hereinafter “Order”] to “Enhance Protections for Healthcare Professionals.” The Order decrees on two general areas:

  1. It broadly relaxes or suspends regulatory requirements pertaining to licensure and certification of healthcare professionals and EMS personnel.
  2. It grants limited Immunity to individuals licensed or certified to provide healthcare services, regardless of whether they are paid or volunteer, for “emergency services activities” or the “provision of disaster services activities” in response to COVID-19.

This paper explores the practical effect of the Order on claims against healthcare providers.

In summary, although there are a few positive declarations in the Order, it is mostly illusory, with no practical protections for those within the proverbial litigation crosshairs. Currently, traditional medical malpractice defenses remain the strongest protection on anticipated COVID claims.  Read more

On Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued an Executive Order granting limited Immunity to healthcare providers involved is emergency services for the COVID-19 pandemic.  The executive order is attached.

 The Governor’s office issued a press release, describing that the intent of the Executive Order as:

  •  Grants immunity to any individual who holds a license, certificate, registration or certification to practice a health care profession or occupation in Pennsylvania and who is engaged in providing COVID-19 medical and health treatment or services during the COVID- 19 disaster emergency response.  Immunity does not extend to acts or omissions that constitute a crime, gross negligence, or fraud, malice, or other willful misconduct;

  • Extends immunity to those medical professionals in Pennsylvania that provide services in any health care facility as defined by the Health Care Facilities Act, as well as any nursing facility, personal care home, assisted living facility or any alternate care site, community-based testing site or non-congregate care facility used for the purpose of conducting emergency services activities or the provision of disaster services activities related to the Commonwealth's COVID- 19 disaster emergency response;

  • Affirms immunity for any person, organization or authority allowing real estate or other premises used for emergency services without compensation in the case of death, injury, or loss or damage to the property of any person who is on the premises for the purpose of those emergency services; and

  • Suspends or removes a host of regulatory barriers that would otherwise impede or prevent out-of-state, retired or other qualified practitioners from providing services where needed in the Commonwealth.

 

The Governor relied upon an existing Immunity statute applicable to governmental entities engaged in emergency services.  The Order may raise issues on interpretation, such as the scope of emergency services covered under the immunity statute.  It may also raise constitutional challenges, as the order designates private healthcare providers as agents of the Commonwealth under the existing governmental immunity law.  That designation may be challenged as exceeding the Governor’s authority.   We will address these issues and the overall effect of the Order in a forthcoming analysis.

If you have any questions, contact Attorney Mundy at wjmundy@burnswhite.com.

What is the “Standard of Care” in a Pandemic?: Medical Malpractice Defense in Response to a Public Health Emergency


By Megan B. Kelleher, Esquire

In this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers have been forced to walk a fine line between their longstanding and well-documented professional standards of care and a new time-sensitive crisis standard of care in the face of limited resources, new and unusual practice settings, and unfamiliar and ever-changing patient care needs.  Read more

New Jersey Issues Executive Order 112 to Protect Healthcare Providers

On April 1, 2020, Governor Phil D. Murphy issued Executive Order 112. The broad-ranging decree was designed to provide legal protections to healthcare providers responding to the State’s COVID-19 response. Central to that intent is a “qualified immunity” to healthcare professionals. This advisory addresses specific issues that may arise with Executive Order 112’s application to future litigation.  Read more

States Respond to COVID-19 to Protect Healthcare Workers

By Maria Granaudo Gesty, Esquire

At least three states have responded to the COVID-19 state of emergency by enacting added protections for healthcare providers in the course of treatment of such patients, and many more are expected to follow.  Read more

MASS TORT AND TOXIC TORT LITIGATION 
Read more about the 
Burns White Mass Tort and Toxic Tort Litigation Group

Access the most current Ohio Mass Torts COVID-19 Updates.

RETAIL AND HOSPITALITY LAW
Read more about the Burns White Retail and Hospitality Law Group

COVID-19 and Third Party Liability Claims in the Retail and Hospitality Industry

By Brian S. Kane, Esquire and Gerard Hornby

One of the biggest risks posed to the retail and hospitality industry by the COVID-19 crisis is the potential for third-party lawsuits from invitees (guests, customers, and patrons) arising out of a business’s handling of the virus.  Retail and hospitality businesses should prepare for claims brought by guests or patrons alleging that it was negligent in its response to COVID-19.  Potential claims include failure to properly clean or maintain its premises to prevent the presence of the virus at the business, that the business knew an employee was infected with COVID-19 and didn’t take requisite precautions such as properly notifying its patrons; or that a business wrongfully quarantined an employee or tenant; or that it disclosed private information, resulting in physical injury, emotional distress, loss of use of property or personal injury.

Law Permitting Alcohol Home Delivery for Beer Breweries and Restaurants During, and After, the COVID-19 Crisis

By Joshua D. Brown, Esquire

As with most Pennsylvania businesses, the present COVID-19 crisis has been enormously stressful and rapid fire for many restaurants, beer breweries, and other establishments selling alcohol within the Commonwealth. The developments have been constant, and sometimes feel unclear. However, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s guidance, coupled with recent alcohol law liberalization in the Commonwealth, has cleared a path for home delivery of alcohol to customers during, and after, this crisis. Accordingly, home delivery provides Pennsylvania establishments with flexibility to continue selling its product to customers during the pandemic.  Read more

TRANSPORTATION AND LOGISTICS 
Read more about the Burns White Transportation and Logistics Group

Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Trucking Industry and the Response from the FMCSA

By David R. Chludzinski, Esquire

Trucks move roughly 71.4% of the nation’s freight by weight.  According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, as of May 2019, the number of for-hire carriers on file with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) totaled 892,078, private carriers totaled 772,011, and other interstate motor carriers totaled 84,930.  Suffice it to say that without the commercial trucking industry, much of the country’s population would have a difficult time obtaining everything from produce at their local supermarket to packages they ordered online.  Read more

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